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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On Being Planted

In my student women's group last night, we lingered on the words from Psalm 1: 
[Those that chew and digest the word of God] are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

We turned these words over a bit:

what are the streams of water in our lives?
how are we in or out of season?
what is "prospering" for someone on this deep spiritual path?

This morning, I am reading in Tracy Balzer's Permission to Ponder and she engages the same verse in her first chapter:

"...I am to be planted....a tree grows because it has been planted; it grows strong and mature because it remains planted."

"To be planted" means to let our roots grow down deep into the soil of the heart of God.  It is also to put roots into community, into place, into knowing our own identity and soul.

The practices of being planted are many--perhaps in our church lives and in this chapter of the psalsm, we mostly consider meditation and devotional reading (the chewing and digesting of the word of God), but these are far from the only practices of being planted.

To be planted means to:
practice gratitude for what is
share a meal made with love with our family
honor the seasons of the place (geographical) that God has us
be intentional about knowing the land and nature around us in the particular place we are
celebrate the markers of live with our community
tend a garden (of flowers, vegetables or children) in our lives

Today, I am intentionally settling deeper into the soil of my life by writing cards for those in grief,  sitting in my own space by the fire--taking note of this time, place and space that God is at work.  Reading scripture, carrying prayer in my heart, calling a friend from Oregon to remember that place as well and my heart there.

How are you practicing "being planted" today?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Life of Joy

There are many who say, "O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!"
You have put gladness in my heart more than when the grain and wine abound.
Psalm 4:  6-7

Joy outside of circumstances--this is to live with joy that comes from the wellspring of the Holy Spirit. It is easy for me to claim this, speak this, write this.  My circumstances are joyful, for the most part.  And while life is never easy, I have plenty and enough.  To know this kind of joy when the "grain and wine" do not abound, this is to know God with depth and authenticity.

Thanks be to God that the Spirit teaches us this way of joy, we do not have to learn it ourselves.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Productivity is not always in season

This caught me this morning:  "The happy ones are like trees, planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in it season, and their leaves do not wither."--Psalm 1

So much is to be said for the flow of seasons in our lives.  We are not productive all of the time.  There are seasons to our productivity and to our work.  There are seasons of rest and waiting and drinking deeply of the streams of water that flow through our lives.

The questions this leads us to ask are:
What are the streams that give you life?
What season are you in?
Is it time to move into a new season of life?

As 2016 moves in, I like to reflect on the purpose of this season and to release myself from the automatic thinking that it's about productivity. Maybe it is...but maybe it is about rest...or about just doing enough, but not too much.

Overdoing is just as soul-harming as underdoing.